fireplaces Q&A's

Dear Debbie;

 I have a beautiful floor to ceiling fireplace made of flat river stone. The mantel is a strip of 1 ½-inch cedar. I’d like ideas for a new mantel with a little more substance. Also decorating the mantel is a challenge to me. How large should the objects be?


Dear Charlotte;

When building a new mantel, it’s a good idea to cut one to size out of cardboard first to make sure the scale is pleasing to the eye. Too small and it will look dwarfed by the stone as your existing cedar mantel does; too big and it will look clumsy. Try a different material such as an old beam or any rough piece of wood cut to the appropriate size. For a contemporary look, try a thick piece of glass – it will look like it’s floating on the stone. Make sure the mantel is supported properly as it will be heavy, either have it inserted well into the existing stone, or build a surround for it.

 Mantel decorations look best if they are grouped. A set of picture frames together and then a group of vases, or try two tall vases either end. This is the fun part of decorating, and it’s all about what pleases your eye.